In my five years as editor of Musicworks, I cannot recall a more action-packed time than the three-day whirlwind of stimulating events, conversations, and music I experienced last May. All the chatting and typing and reading and listening that I do in front of (or holding) a screen certainly keeps me connected to my colleagues and to the magazine’s community of curious ears in Toronto and beyond.
But, as I was reminded quite intensely this spring, it’s good to power down and get out of the house.
On May 16, I attended the 2018 Mayor's Arts Lunch with Musicworks operations manager Jessie Rivést (far left of photo), composer Juliet Palmer (our former board chair "stood in" for our current chair, Christopher Mayo, photo right).  The winners of six Toronto Arts Foundation Awards were being announced, and Musicworks was a finalist for the Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition (which went to our pal The Whole Note). The finalists had already met a couple of weeks earlier at a small, relaxed, convivial post-work event held just for them. But this was a very different affair. In the King Edward Hotel Crystal Ballroom, the finalists were part of the hubbub, sharing large round tables with arts, business, and government leaders. There were introductions, musical performances, speeches, dessert.
After the event concluded, many of us looked for each other to say congratulations—one more time—and goodbye. The sentiment I kept hearing was that, aside from the honour of being a finalist, the real kick of the whole shebang was the opportunity to step outside our usual circles and actually feel connected to our city’s wider cultural community, something bigger than our comfortable corners. 
So I was in an excellent mood and mindset the next morning in Montreal (!), when I boarded a bus filled with dozens of artists and artistic directors from across the country (and guests from Germany and Finland), heading to Victoriaville, Quebec, to attend the first two days of the Canadian New Music Network’s eighth biennial Forum. (Right photo show Forum participants working on a community-music mapping project.)
The Forum allowed me to catch up with artists who have appeared in Musicworks (Gabriel Dharmoo, Linda Bouchard, Patrick St. Denis) or will in the near future (U.K.-based Canadian composer and Cluster-Festival codirector Luke Nickel), and to discover artists and get more conversations started.
In the evenings, Forum participants could attend Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. You will find Stuart Broomer’s review of FIMAV 2018 on page 49 of Musicworks 131( Fall 2018). My FIMAV highlights? Performances from two exceptional artists featured in previous issues: Vancouver erhu-player and composer Lan Tung (Musicworks 121), with her Giant Project, and the vanguard African-American pianist and composer Dave Burrell (Musicworks 122) playing in bassist William Parker’s band.
The Forum’s four-day deep dive into the theme of Entr’arts (interarts, as we say in this magazine) offered discussions, presentations, and social spaces to consider such things as collaborative practice and community contexts for programming, and to explore questions like: what challenges or freedoms do artists encounter when moving from their specialized art form into another? Are interarts projects good places for cross-cultural dialogue?
Many of the creators, works, and ideas in the pages of Musicworks, including the Fall 2018 issue, fit under the entr’arts/interarts heading.
Nancy Lanthier opens her lovely cover story about the in-demand Vancouver cellist and composer Peggy Lee with a vivid description of her improvised performance with a dancer; Germany-based Canadian artist Darsha Hewitt, interviewed by Greg J. Smith as part of “New Twists in Circuit Bending,” examines communications technologies through wide-ranging, seriously whimsical interdisciplinary work; contributing editor Nick Storring delves into the collaborative, cross-cultural experiences and research that have informed the oeuvre of visionary Spanish-German composer Maria de Alvear, who has written works for Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan.
I’m very happy to make good on a “conversation” that started at Forum 2014, which was held in Calgary; that’s where I met percussionist and Bug Incision founder Chris Dadge, who put together the After Hours improv sessions. Chris pops up as an influential figure in another story in this issue (can you guess which one?) but is in the Label Profile spotlight, talking about the recently refreshed Bug Incision and the lively performance scene that has been buzzing around it for more than a decade.

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